Feb. 21, 2013
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Current Maryland field hockey forward Jill Witmer and former Terrapin Katie O'Donnell were both named to the U.S. National Team's 18-man roster for the International Hockey Federation's World League Round 2 Tournament in Rio de Janiero, Brazil March 4-10.
It will be the first cap for Witmer with the U.S. National Team. She was named to the U.S. Developmental Squad last summer, as well as the U.S. Under-21 Team. O'Donnell, the 2009 and 2010 Honda Sports Award winner, has 128 caps with the U.S. National Team, including the Olympics in London last summer.
"When I first got the message that I made the roster, I was kind of shocked," Witmer said. "This is thing you always dream about. I knew my time here at Maryland was preparing me for the next level, but it was still such a thrill to get the news."
"Jill has the potential to be a great asset to team USA," Terrapin head coach Missy Meharg said. "Her natural speed and competitive nature bring out the best in both her teammates and opponents. Playing alongside former Terp teammate Katie O'Donnell will be quite natural. We are very proud of Jill as she competes in her first Senior Women's FIH tournament. Go USA."
Craig Parnham, who was appointed head coach of the U.S. Women's Field Hockey Team in January, will be coaching in his first tournament with Team USA. Over the last several weeks, Parnham reviewed and evaluated the majority of athletes in the national program at two training camps held at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. and the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C. The training camp on the east coast, held late last week, afforded players with college commitments the opportunity to meet and train under Parnham prior to selection.
"I made a deliberate and conscious effort to see all the players in the program, and now that process is complete, I believe we have selected the right squad to represent the U.S. at World League Round 2," said Parnham.
As the No. 10 ranked team in the world, the U.S. received an automatic entry into World League Round 2. The top two teams from World League Round 2 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil will automatically advance to World League Round 3 this summer and become one step closer to qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.
The six team round robin tournament features No. 18 Chile, No. 19 Scotland, No. 27 Trinidad & Tobago, No. 50 Uruguay and No. 55 Brazil. As the top ranked team, the U.S. could consider themselves positioned as favorites to advance to World League 3. However, Parnham is aware that in a tournament environment nothing is guaranteed and that performance will need to precede results. Team USA will face host nation Brazil in the opening match on March 4, followed by Uruguay. Next up, the U.S. will face Scotland and Chile before closing out the tournament against Trinidad and Tobago on March 10.
"It would be a nice start for us to get up and running quickly and come away from Brazil having had a successful tournament and qualified for the next stage. However, should it not work out, there will be other opportunities for us to qualify for the World Cup," Parnham said.
For more information on World League Round 2, including schedule, results, news and more, visit the World League Round 2 event page on usafieldhockey.com. Join the conversation @USAFieldHockey #World_League2.